Thursday, May 31, 2012

The scientifically illiterate believe more in "climate change"

The more scientifically illiterate one is the more he will believe in "climate change."

Lewis Page at The Register UK reports:

A US government-funded survey has found that Americans with higher levels of scientific and mathematical knowledge are more sceptical regarding the dangers of climate change than their more poorly educated fellow citizens.

The results of the survey are especially remarkable as it was plainly not intended to show any such thing: Rather, the researchers and trick-cyclists who carried it out were doing so from the position that the "scientific consensus" (carbon-driven global warming is ongoing and extremely dangerous) is a settled fact, and the priority is now to find some way of getting US voters to believe in the need for urgent, immediate and massive action to reduce CO2 emissions.

A theory exists among some psychologists, sociologists and other soft "scientists" that it should be possible to convince the ordinary citizenry to accept the various huge costs advocated by environmentalists, by simply raising the level of scientific knowledge and numeracy. People would then be able to understand that there is a terrible danger facing the human race and so would support action to address it. Certainly it appears to be a fact that very few people in the general public – or indeed, in various architecture and industrial-design faculties – have enough basic physics and numeracy to join the debate at all (as the recent rash of human-powered "crowd farm" generator projects illustrates all too plainly).

Thus, in a just-published US National Science Foundation-funded study, participants' science knowledge and numeracy was tested and compared with levels of concern regarding climate change. The soft-studies profs were amazed, however, to find that as one moves up the scale of science knowledge and numeracy, people become more sceptical, not less.

So, the message is the more scientifically knowledgable people are on to something, of course. Not to the kool aid drinkers. This calls them to lead the charge for less science and more indoctrination. You see it's the fault of the kind of people who learn more science; they are bad people, "hierarchical individuals."

It does not follow, however, that nothing can be done ... Effective strategies include use of culturally diverse communicators, whose affinity with different communities enhances their credibility, and information-framing techniques that invest policy solutions with resonances congenial to diverse groups. Perfecting such techniques through a new science of science communication is a public good of singular importance.

They need a new science of science communication with culturally diverse communicators. Hello?

Via James Delingpole

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PC beat up on Marcellus shale scientist

Professor/scientist shows the real data. Greenies beat him up for giving the wrong answer. Professor defends his work. Sponsor university goes PC and chickens out.

SUNY Buffalo (New York) created a new institute for studying and promoting the huge Marcellus shale natural gas formation of NY, PA, Ohio and WV - Shale Resources and Society Institute (no link). They are paying scientists to get and analyze data on the resource. Prof. Timothy Considine, University of Wyoming is one of three coauthors of "Environmental Impacts During Shale Gas Drilling: Causes, Impacts and Remedies (PDF). (Credit to Scott Anderson of EDF for the link and a balanced view.)

The fearful ecologists do "heroic data analysis" like pointing out that incidents more than doubled. While hiding the fact that drilling and production activity increased by more than ten (10) times. And they do it with a straight face. I don't know how.

The university SUNY Buffalo, which sponsored the work and published it as the first product of its new center, now says it's just the authors' opinions. They were so proud of their institute people only last week.

Washington Times

...The PAI’s complaints, and the study’s authors’ responses, come down to how one chooses to view the data. For example, the initiative pointed out that, between 2008 and August 2011, the total number of environmental incidents in Pennsylvania tied to fracking increased by 189 percent.

That’s true, but the number of natural-gas wells drilled during the same period increased from 170 in 2008 to more than 3,500 by August 2011, the last month examined by the survey. While the raw number of “environmental events” has gone up from 90 in 2008 to 260 through the first eight months of 2011, that near-tripling pales against the 20-fold increase in well numbers.

“That’s a key aspect of interpretation. If you look at the number of highway deaths, you have the same problem. You have to correct by some factor, like the rate of traffic,” Mr. Considine said. “You have to do that in drilling, too. If they stopped drilling entirely, there would be zero environmental events.”

The way I view data is that less than tripling incidents while increasing activity by 20 times means incidents are controlled in number. Don't you think?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Follow a child in Paris

The Wall Street Journal has a fun travel feature about touring from a child's perspective.

I find the article particularly interesting for two personal reasons. First, the author traveled with his four-year-old daughter. We went to France in 1981 when our first daughter was four and spent four days in Paris. She opened doors for us everywhere we went. A couple can be self contained, but not a couple with a child. Our little girl wandered up to people, asked questions, danced and repeatedly broke the ice.

Second, the photo featuring the book Madeline. "Twelve little girls in two straight lines … the youngest one was Madeline." Showing a four-year old girl wearing a red rain slicker and yellow boots. That must be our granddaughter Madeline, who is now 8. Of course the author and daughter follow the 16-mile tour of Paris done by Madeline's group, across the Pont Neuf bridge over the Seine that Madeline fell off of, etc.

The photo - Wall Street Journal. Click, but it's large.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Senator Murray pays female staff less

There ought to be a law. Senator Murray pays her male staffers $21,000 more on average than the females. Is this discrimination?

So Senator Patty is proposing a law. She and four other female senators announced the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act. Free Beacon It would facilitate large punitive damage claims in discrimination suits and is up for a vote following the Memorial Day recess.

But there already is a law. Obama is very proud of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. He brags that it was the first bill he signed. Weekly Standard

Despite the Lilly Law: Free Beacon
Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war a women,” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 35.2 percent. 
That is well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide. The figure is based on a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, and is technically accurate. 
A significant “gender gap” exists in Senator Feinstein’s office, where women also made about $21,000 less than men in 2011, but the percentage difference—41 percent—was even higher than Murray’s. 
Senator Boxer’s female staffers made about $5,000 less, a difference of 7.3 percent.
The Free Beacon used publicly available salary data from the transparency website Legistorm to calculate the figures, and considered only current full-time staff members who were employed for the entirety of fiscal year 2011.
However, as CNN’s Lisa Sylvester has reported, when factors such as area of employment, hours of work, and time in the workplace are taken into account, the gap shrinks to about 5 percent.
But Murray doesn't claim this smaller gap when she is complaining about women being discriminated against.

Why does she pay her female employees less? Did the Senate exclude itself from the Lilly Ledbetter law?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Obama DOJ forces university to allow man in women's bathrooms

This is not the Onion. This is news.

The poor man is confused. She is transgendered and Obama so Eric Holder's Department of Justice are forcing University of Arkansas at Fort Smith to allow him in ladies' bathrooms. The university provided her with gender neutral bathrooms, but that didn't suit Eric Holder. Why do I say he is a man? Because that's what her body is.

Daily Caller

… According to a report from the conservative Campus Reform, the university decided to reverse its transgender policy after receiving a letter from the Department of Justice. The school’s initial solution was to allow the man to use gender-neutral bathrooms instead of the women’s restrooms, and to offer to convert more bathrooms into gender-neutral areas.

“Because of the stance we took, the individual filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Justice,” Mark Horn, vice president of university relations, told Campus Reform.

Jennifer Braly, the 38-year-old male student who was not satisfied with the university’s policy, filed a complaint with the Justice Department and sued.

“I am frustrated and highly depressed about all of these unfair restrictions,” Braly explained in an online appeal for sex-change surgery donations.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

US drops in economic freedom

The US has again dropped in rankings of economic freedom. We are still in the top 10 (barely) but we are dropping under President Obama.

Oregon Catalyst

Source: Fraser Institute

See also: Free the World

Monday, May 21, 2012

Skepticism is of the politics in science, not the scientific methods

When the public was questioned about science and showed little trust the powers that be proclaimed that the public are ignorant boobs. But the public's distrust is the politicized science and the politicizing of scientific results by nonscientists, not the real science.

Glenn Reynolds in NY Post on a study by Gordon Gauchat, a postdoctoral fellow in sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
… Despite the language in the coverage, it’s not science as a method that people are losing confidence in; it’s scientists and the institutions that purport to speak for them. 
Gauchat’s paper was based on annual responses in the General Social Survey, which asks people: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them?” One institution mentioned was “the scientific community.” 
So when fewer people answered “a great deal” and more answered “hardly any” with regard to “the scientific community,” they were demonstrating more skepticism not toward science but toward the people running scientific institutions. 
With this in mind, a rise in skepticism isn’t such a surprise. Public skepticism has grown toward most institutions over the last several decades, and with good reason, as a seemingly endless series of scandals and episodes of dishonesty have illustrated.
In fact, given that Americans have grown broadly more skeptical of institutions in general, it’s not surprising that conservatives are more skeptical of scientific institutions than they were almost 40 years ago. What’s surprising is that liberals have grown less skeptical over the same period. (Perhaps because scientific institutions have been telling them things they want to hear?) 
Regardless, while one should trust science as a method — honestly done, science remains the best way at getting to the truth on a wide range of factual matters — there’s no particular reason why one should trust scientists and especially no particular reason why one should trust the people running scientific institutions, who often aren’t scientists themselves.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Obama loses 99-0

Why won't President Obama run on his record? Because he lost in the Senate Tuesday 99-0.

Not even Harry Reid would vote for Obama's Fy 2013 budget. Poor President.

New depths of irresponsibility: There were five budgets to consider; not one Democrat voted for any budget.

If the Demos don't like those 5 budgets where is theirs? The Democrat leadership has not conducted the budget process that is required by law. They won't show their plan. Don't they have a budget plan? It's hiding.

Powerline Blog

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Obamacare forces university to kill health-care benefit

Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, has announced the end of providing health-care insurance for its employees. Obama forced them to provide abortions and birth control. Oh - word smithing - "the university doesn't have to provide these, but the insurance company does. The university just has to pay for violating its conscience."

But Obama wanted to help EVERYONE. The leaders of this university are just mean. This is just the first one; there will be many more.

President Obama is learning - or not - that his lies and actions have consequences. 

Franciscan also cited the greatly increased costs due to Obamacare.

LifeNews via

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Canada looks to China for resource exports

For a century Canada's economy has been tightly related to the US's. But now officials in Canada are looking increasingly toward China. And it's partly our own fault.

Part of the change is hostility from the Obama administration; more about that below. But that's not all the story. The economic slow down has decreased US demand for Canadian products and commodities. And the US has a huge resurgence in energy production - natural gas and oil - which tends to decrease US demand. At the same time Canada's oil production is increasing. So they are looking for markets: China!

The relationship with the US is still huge - 67.7% of Canada's trade. There have been ups and downs in the relationship, but NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement - increased the relationships. 

The Chinese have been investing in Canada at an increased rate the past few years. The two countries are getting closer.

Meanwhile, as I reported a few days ago President Obama ignored the approvals by his own State Department for the Keystone XL pipeline and delayed his decision until after the 2012 election. Cute! But the Republicans wrote into law approval within 30 days in January. So Obama bravely rejected it. Canada got the message. Look to China.

Companies in Canada are proposing to increase the capacity of an oil pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, BC and separately to build a new one, the Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat in Northern British Columbia. OilPrice 

Also Obama is blocking Canada's entry into Trans-Pacific Partnership. He is ridiculously accusing Canada of his own sin - protectionism. What lesson does Canada take from this Obama trick? The US under Obama is a less reliable partner. This adds another reason that Canada is looking east.

Wall Street Journal - subscription required

Photo: Trans Alaska Pipeline. From Tony Mazzocchi Center

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Israel is surrounded like 1967

Charles Krauthamer brings the news to the US public: signs that Israel sees its existence threatened and is taking action.

Investor's Business Daily

[Quoting] In May 1967, in brazen violation of previous truce agreements, Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, marched 120,000 troops to the Israeli border, blockaded Eilat (Israel's southern outlet to the world's oceans), abruptly signed a military pact with Jordan and, together with Syria, pledged war for the final destruction of Israel.

May '67 was Israel's most fearful, desperate month. The country was surrounded and alone. Previous great-power guarantees proved worthless. A plan to test the blockade with a Western flotilla failed for lack of participants. Time was running out. Forced to protect against invasion by mass mobilization — and with a military consisting overwhelmingly of civilian reservists — life ground to a halt. The country was dying.

On June 5, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian air force, then proceeded to lightning victories on three fronts. The Six-Day War is legend, but less remembered is that on June 1, the nationalist opposition (Menachem Begin's Likud precursor) was for the first time ever brought into the government, creating an emergency national-unity coalition.
Everyone understood why. You do not undertake a supremely risky pre-emptive war without the full participation of a broad coalition representing a national consensus.

Forty-five years later, in the middle of the night of May 7-8, 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked his country by bringing the main opposition party, Kadima, into a national unity government. Shocking because just hours earlier, the Knesset was expediting a bill to call early elections in September.

Why did the high-flying Netanyahu call off elections he was sure to win?

Because for Israelis today, it is May '67. The dread is not quite as acute: The mood is not despair, just foreboding. Time is running out, but not quite as fast. War is not four days away, but it looms.
Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence — apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel's annihilation acquiring nuclear weapons — since May '67. The world is again telling Israelis to do nothing as it looks for a way out. But if such a way is not found — as in '67 — Israelis know they will once again have to defend themselves, by themselves.

Military Is Ready

Such a fateful decision demands a national consensus. By creating the largest coalition in nearly three decades, Netanyahu is establishing the political premise for a pre-emptive strike, should it come to that. The new government commands an astonishing 94 Knesset seats out of 120, described by one Israeli columnist as a "hundred tons of solid concrete." [End quote]

Read the rest

Should Israel follow Obama and do nothing while its declared enemies arm up and position themselves?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Obama broadens trade war against Canada & Mexico

Obama is killing relationships with two of our best trading partners - Canada and Mexico. Pardon me that I am reporting old news, but this is not known. The broad assumption is that Bush soured foreign relations. (Evidence?) But Obama is doing real damage. We all know about his killing - oh, delaying - the TransXL pipeline despite it passing all reviews. But there is much more.

At a summit in early April Obama hit both Canada and Mexico. First, Obama is raising the price of oil for us because he is damaging NAFTA which lowered the price of oil from both countries, which are major sources for us.
Obama's neglect of our nearest neighbors and biggest trade partners has created deteriorating relations, a sign of a president who's out of touch with reality. Problems are emerging that aren't being reported. 
Fortunately, the Canadian and Mexican press told the real story. Canada's National Post quoted former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson as saying the North American Free Trade Agreement and the three-nation alliance it has fostered since 1994 have been so neglected they're "on life support." 
Energy has become a searing rift between the U.S. and Canada and threatens to leave the U.S. without its top energy supplier. 
The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Obama the U.S. will have to pay market prices for its Canadian oil after Obama's de facto veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is preparing to sell its oil to China. 
Until now, NAFTA had shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That's about to change.
Second, this doesn't pass the "you are kidding" test. Anti-trade Obama is accusing Canada of his own sin.
Canada has also all but gone public about something trade watchers have known for a long time: that the U.S. has blocked Canada's entry to the eight-way free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alliance of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, and Singapore. Both Canada and Mexico want to join and would benefit immensely. 
U.S. media dutifully reported Obama's false claim that Canada, our top trading partner, is too protectionist — for whom, we don't know. Malaysia maybe? — even as it's good enough for NAFTA, the trillion-dollar trade treaty that is the world's largest.
"Every country that is participating is going to have to make some modification," Obama told the press. 
Canada's take was far more blunt: "Our strong sense is that most of the members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would like to see Canada join," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in essence revealing that it's the Obama administration alone that is blocking Canada, and suggesting that payback on energy was coming. 
So much for Obama's early claim that he was going to clean up the "mess" President Bush left with our allies and make friends with the world. One amigo muscling another out of a trade alliance isn't friendly.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quick, announce something. Demos lost big Tuesday

Democrats and DC insiders lost big on Tuesday, May 8. So Obama changed the subject on Wednesday, May 9, and announced his evolution on gay marriage - after consulting his daughters.

In Wisconsin. The unions spent millions on recalling Governor Scott Walker. Tuesday was the primary for which Democrat will face Walker in the recall election. The unions' chosen candidate lost big. But the bigger story was that Walker - unopposed on the Republican side - got more votes than all the Democrats combined.

In Indiana the Democrats were very sorry that Senator for life Dick Lugar lost his primary big - 60 to 40. Lugar has not lived in Indiana since he was elected to the Senate over 35 years ago. Sen. John Kerry ("Do you know who I am?") sent condolences.

In North Carolina they voted to change the state constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman. It wasn't close. The Democrats are having their national convention there!!

In West Virginia a federal inmate got 40% of the vote and won 10 counties over Obama in the Democrat primary. Huh? Fox News

The government-controlled media don't want you to hear and talk about this news. So Obama announced he will do what his daughters recommend and endorse marriage of homosexuals. Every talk show can be sidelined to talk about Obama, rather than the loses he is causing.

See also Seattle Times 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Seattle leaders endorse Obama being perfectly fuzzy on gay marriage

The president is evolving on gay marriage. He opposes it. Wink. Wink. He is evolving.

Tell us the literal truth, Mr. President. Be perfectly clear.

Seattle Times
President Obama has been at the center of a political free-for-all this week about his squishy position on gay marriage.
The frenzy follows Vice President Joe Biden's comments on Meet the Press Sunday. Biden said he was "absolutely comfortable" with equal rights for married same-sex couples. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made similar comments Monday. 
That put a spotlight on Obama, who has championed equal rights for same-sex couples on many fronts, yet has maintained he is still "evolving" on the marriage question.
Political commentators have called the president's parsing on the subject "absurd," and "incoherent." Others say Biden's latest gaffe was no accident, but a wink to pro-gay-marriage voters. 
This fall, Washington voters likely will be deciding whether to keep or scrap a law signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire making the state the seventh to legalize same sex marriage.
On Thursday, Obama will make a fundraising stop in Seattle, where same-sex marriage enjoys broad support, and where the president has many well-heeled gay and lesbian political donors. 
But leaders of the pro-gay marriage campaign say they're not demanding any public endorsement by Obama if it would jeopardize his reelection chances. 
Josh Friedes, director of Marriage Equality for Equal Rights Washington, said he understands the "political calculus" that may be part of Obama's decision to wait on a public endorsement -- even if he already agrees with Biden. 
"I wish he would come out now. I do think it would create an even greater conversation, which is what we desire," Friedes said. 
But Friedes said Obama already has been "the most supportive president ever of LGBT civil rights" -- noting the president's decision to end the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, his pro-gay rights executive orders, and his order to the Justice Department to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 
"If the president is really there (supportive of gay marriage) and he is right that coming out could cost him the presidency, then I will not condemn him for his slower public evolution," Friedes said, noting the "huge difference" on the issue between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
And the reporter becomes pundit at the end:
Perhaps after November, the president will feel safe enough to publicly "evolve" back to that position again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Self-induced shortage of critical minerals

Our high-tech industries are facing shortages of the rare-earth minerals, which are used in solar panels, iPhone… and the Toyota Prius! China is home to most of the world's production of most of them, so they are enjoying monopoly profits.
But Fourteen states in the US have some of these minerals, but we are not mining them. The bureaucrats rule: "Just one more form, I mean, ten more." Congress could do something about this self-inflicted wound.

Human Events
Strategic minerals that are essential components in green and high technology such as hybrid cars, iPods and solar panels are readily available in the U.S. but efforts to mine the elements are being stalled by bureaucrats for years, industry officials say. 
“The United States is heavily reliant on foreign countries such as China for critical minerals that are the building blocks of our economy and imperative to renewable energy development, military technology and the manufacturing of nearly all of our electronic devices,” said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Resources Committee. 
There are 15 such rare earth minerals worth more than $6 trillion, including terbium, yttrium and dysprosium that are found throughout the U.S. 
To increase access, Republican lawmakers are supporting legislation called the Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act that they say tackles the highest hurdle of getting the needed permits to begin mining operations. 
… The Toyota Prius uses more of the mineral than any other consumer product, including lanthanum and cerium in the battery, yttrium in the component sensors, dysprosium and terbium in the motor and generator and neodymium in the headlight glass.
(I couldn't name one of them, but I just learned that some batteries use lanthanum. Remember that.)

The photo: Mining in Jiangxi Province, China. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Occupy organizer says he expected broken windows

An Occupy May Day organizer says he expected broken windows. Ian Finkenbinder is identified by Seattle Times as an organizer in the photo caption and is quoted: "When you have the inequity we see today," he said, "there will be a few broken windows." 

As I watched the live coverage I repeatedly said to myself "The organizers knew who was coming." 
And how did the window breakers blend back into the crowd? They were allowed to hide by the marchers. The organizers could have pointed out the anarchists to the police. But they let the anarchists hide in their midst. Then claimed innocence: Oh! These outsiders are ruining our peaceful protest.
Even the police had information that the anarchists were coming. Economic Freedom 

Graphic: I did a screen grab of the page, since photos and captions are fleeting.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Occupy May 1 organizers knew anarchists coming

Even the Seattle police knew! By reading graffiti. The OWS organizers knew a lot more about who was coming than the police.

But they claim they and their street-blocking demonstration are innocent victims of mysterious outsiders. Not believable.
Seattle Times

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Victims of Communism Day

I am joining those who on May 1 remember those killed by Communism.

Ilya Somin began this effort with this introduction at Volokh:

May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century’s other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so. I suggest that May Day be turned into Victims of Communism Day…. 
The main alternative to May 1 is November 7, the anniversary of the communist coup in Russia. However, choosing that date might be interpreted as focusing exclusively on the Soviet Union, while ignoring the equally horrendous communist mass murders in China, Camobodia, and elsewhere. So May 1 is the best choice.
Hat tip to Jim Miller at Sound Politics.